Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FBI director laments the 'viral video effect'

FBI Director James Comey is again sounding the alarm about a surge in murders in several American cities and is publicly complaining that the problem isn't getting much national media attention because the victims are minorities who live in particular neighborhoods, reported Politico.
"I was very worried about it last fall and I am in many ways more worried," Comey told reporters during a question-and-answer session at FBI headquarters Wednesday. "The numbers are not only going up, they're continuing to go up faster than they were going up last year. And I worry very much it's a problem that most of America can drive around....I don't know what the answer is, but, holy cow, do we have a problem."
The FBI chief has acknowledged that the surge in murders is perplexing in several respects, including the fact that some cities have not seen any uptick while others are experiencing a shocking level of violence.
"Why does Dallas see a dramatic spike and Houston doesn't?...The map and the calendar makes no sense," Comey said. "It's a complicated, hard issue, but the stakes couldn't be higher. A whole lot of people are dying. I don't want to drive around it."
Comey said the FBI is working with police in several cities to try to improve relationships between minority communities and police.
The FBI director acknowledged he still has no hard proof that attention to police-involved shootings and other instances of alleged abuse has changed the policing dynamic. But he said he continues to hear that from officers informally.
"What I'm talking about is sort of the viral video effect....Changes in the way police may be acting and in the way communities may be acting in terms of how much information they share with police could well be at the heart of this or could well be an important factor in this," Comey said. "I think it is the potential effect of marginal pullbacks by lots and lots of police officers that is changing some cities. I continue to hear that privately.....I've heard it in lots of conversations privately with police leaders."
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